Burns & McDonnell

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World headquarters on Ward Parkway

Burns & McDonnell is an engineering design firm headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri.

Burns & McDonnell is one of the leading design firms in the United States. The company provides engineering, architecture, construction, environmental and consulting services for the aviation, defense, environmental and utilities markets. The group ranks among the top 10 designers for the power industry market, and nearly 40 percent of its revenues are earned from projects for that market. In 2005 the company created a new business unit to offer architectural, engineering and construction management services to the health care industry.

Burns & McDonnell is a 100 percent employee-owned company with more than 5,000 employees.

Board of directors[edit]

In October 2014, Burns & McDonnell announced two appointments to the Board of Directors:[1] John Olander, president of the Transmission & Distribution Group, and Paul Fischer, president of the Regional Office Group. The move coincides with the pending end-of-year retirement of Board Member John Nobles, president of the Process & Industrial Group. In late 2014, the company restructured and rebranded, announcing the hiring of its 5,000th employee and the appointment of Board Member Ray Kowalik to the new position of executive vice president of Burns & McDonnell and president of Global Practices. The firm also launched a new brand and logo.[2]

On Dec. 31, 2012, board member Walt Womack retired. Denny Scott was named chief financial officer and joined the board in January 2014, after the retirement of CFO Mark Taylor.[3]

On Jan. 1, 2009, the Board of Directors expanded from five to seven.[4]

Then-Chairman Joel Cerwick retired, and Ray Kowalik, John Nobles and David Yeamans were added. CEO Greg Graves was named chairman at that time.

The 2014-2015 board consists of:

  • Greg Graves - CEO and Chairman of the Board
  • Paul Fischer - President, Regional Office Group
  • Don Greenwood - President and General Manager, Construction
  • Ray Kowalik - Executive Vice President and President, Global Practices
  • John Nobles - President and General Manager, Process & Industrial
  • John Olander - President, Transmission & Distribution
  • Denny Scott - Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
  • David Yeamans - President and General Manager, Aviation & Federal

Global Practices[edit]

Global practices are the internal business divisions of Burns & McDonnell.


Burns & McDonnell, Consulting Engineers, was founded in 1898 by Clinton S. Burns and Robert E. McDonnell, two Stanford University engineering graduates. They based their new engineering consulting firm in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. They specialized in providing clean water, reliable power and effective sewer systems to growing municipalities throughout the growing Midwest. The firm's first major project was a combined water and light plant for the city of Iola, Kan.

Burns died at age 53 in 1924, having designed more than water systems and patented railroad and sewer equipment. In 1930, the firm name was changed to Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co. McDonnell died in 1960 at age 82.

In 1942, the company began its first aviation industry project, the Smoky Hill Army Airfield, the Salina, Kan., home of the B-29 bomber. In 1971, Burns & McDonnell was bought by Armco Steel. Burns & McDonnell acquired the C.W. Nofsinger Co. in 1983, establishing what would become the Process & Industrial division. In 2010, Kansas City design firm Harrington & Cortelyou was integrated with the Transportation division, adding a portfolio of major bridge experience.

In 2009 Burns & McDonnell was ranked the 50th best place to work according to Fortune Magazines 100 Best Companies to Work For.

In 2012 Burns & McDonnell was ranked the 26th best place to work according to Fortune Magazines 100 Best Companies to Work For.

In 2013 Burns & McDonnell was ranked the 18th best place to work according to Fortune Magazines 100 Best Companies to Work For.

In 2014 Burns & McDonnell was ranked the 14th best place to work according to Fortune Magazines 100 Best Companies to Work For.


  • 1898-1924: Clinton S. Burns, co-founder
  • 1898-1951: Robert E. McDonnell, president and co-founder
  • 1951-1974: R.H. McDonnell, president
  • 1974-1982: Raymond B. Luhnow Jr., president
  • 1982-1984: Newton A. Campbell, president
  • 1986-1993: Newton A. Campbell, chairman of the board
  • 1984-1993: Dave Ruf Jr., president
  • 1993-2003: Dave Ruf Jr., president, chairman and CEO
  • 2003-2009: Greg Graves, president and CEO
  • 2009-present: Greg Graves, chairman, president and CEO


Kansas City World Headquarters

  • 1898: Startup in the New England Life building
  • 1908: Moved to the prestigious Scarritt Building
  • 1915: Interstate Building at 13th and Locust
  • 1933: Carmen Building on Linwood Boulevard
  • 1947: 95th and Troost
  • 1959: 63rd Street and Elmwood, east of Swope Park
  • 1996: Current world headquarters building at 9400 Ward Parkway
  • 2005: Expanded into building I-435 and Holmes Road
  • 2007: Expanded into building at 9201 State Line Road
  • 2011: Expanded into building at 9300 Ward Parkway, leaving building at I-435 and Holmes Road
  • 2013: Return expansion to building at I-435 and Holmes Road
  • 2014: Launched construction on headquarters expansion that doubles the size of the campus and adds 2,000 new workspaces

Branch Offices

  • Atlanta
  • Austin, Texas
  • Baltimore-Washington, D.C.
  • Bismarck, N.D.
  • Calgary, Alberta (Burns & McDonnell Canada)
  • Chattanooga, Tenn.
  • Chicago
  • Dallas-Fort Worth
  • Denver
  • Doha, Qatar
  • Gillette, Wyo.
  • Honolulu
  • Houston
  • Kansas City, Mo.
  • Madison, Wis.
  • Miami
  • Milwaukee
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul
  • New England
  • New York Metropolitan Area
  • Norfolk-Hampton Roads, Va.
  • O'Fallon, Ill.
  • Oklahoma City
  • Omaha, Neb.
  • Orange County, Calif.
  • Pasadena, Calif.
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix
  • Portland, Maine
  • Portland, Ore.
  • Raleigh, N.C.
  • Richmond, Va.
  • Roanoke, Va.
  • Salt Lake City
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Springdale, Ark.
  • St. Louis
  • Wichita, Kan.
  • Mumbai, India

Top Competitors[edit]

Bechtel, Black & Veatch Corporation, HNTB, Kiewit, Power Engineers, Jacobs Engineering